Is A Microphone An Input or Output Device?

Let’s try to answer some questions around this topic for a better understanding of your equipment and arsenal.

Are microphones input or output devices?

If a microphone is connected to a computer it takes sounds from outside for the system and relays the information into the system. In this particular case, microphones function as input devices.

Most of the times, you can go with the default assumption that microphones are purely input devices like your mouse, keyboard, trackpad, etc.

The simplest way to think about it is that since microphones or mics send information into your system, they are input devices.

Let’s try to think about it conversely. Can you output anything through your microphone? No. The microphone doesn’t allow your computer or other device to output any information.

An output device is like your computer monitor/display. It draws things to the screen that you can interpret. Here, the computer monitor is an output device. Some computer monitors may be equipped with a touch-screen functionality. If so, the monitor becomes both an input and an output device.

Is microphone input or output?

In most cases, your microphone is an input device. Technically, it may still ‘output’ voltages to another system intended to amplify the voltages/voltage fluctuations. But this output still serves as an input to the other device.

What is the difference between Input vs Output Audio?

Speakers are typically your audio output devices and microphones, or even many electrical instruments are considered audio input devices.

It is mainly differentiated by the direction of information travel. In the case of a speaker, information travels from the computer/system through the speaker into the outside world. With a microphone however, information travels from the outside world through the microphone into a computer/system.

Are headphones input or output devices?

Headphones that have no microphone are output devices as they send information from your computer to you/the outside environment. If a headphones comes with an attached microphone, it behaves as both an input and an output device.

Is microphone an output device?

No, microphones are input devices as they send information into a computer/device for further processing. The direction of information movement is very important.